CAMP 2016: The (casual) sisterhood of CAMP

merrill_perlmanBy Merrill Perlman, JAWS Board Member

If you are coming to CAMP for the first time, don’t be nervous. We’ve got your back.

If you’re new to journalism, don’t be shy. We’ve got your back.

If you’re new to being a woman, don’t worry. We’ve got your back.

If you’ve never been to a journalism conference, don’t hyperventilate.  We’ve got your back.

As nearly anyone who has been to CAMP can testify, Journalism and Women Symposium’s Conference and Mentoring Project is different.

To start with, we call it CAMP. Yes, we’re a symposium, and yes, it’s called a conference. But it’s called CAMP for a reason. If you go camping, you’re looking to get away from civilization for a little, to commune with nature, to reconnect with yourself. When you went to camp as a kid, or when you send your own kids to camp, you recognize camp as a place to have fun, to learn new skills with new people, to come away with bonds, knowledge, friendships that can last a lifetime.

That’s what happens at CAMP.

JAWS CAMP is held in a place of beauty, this year at the Hotel Roanoke in Virginia Oct. 28-30, so you can  get away from civilization, commune with nature, reconnect with yourself (and journalism).

At JAWS CAMP, we make lifelong friends, we learn how to manage our social media lives, we connect with aspiring and inspiring women, and we share best practices, sources, job hunting tips. We share laughter, and we sometimes cry at moving stories, or while remembering people no longer with us. We welcome newcomers with the same hugs we give the people we see all the time, and hope you’ll hug us back. Now and forever.

No, we don’t sit around the campfire and sing “Kumbaya” (though a bunch of us may sit around the hot tub and sing other songs). There’s no “bug juice” (though we’ll bet someone at the bar can create a dynamite drink called “bug juice”). We don’t make lanyards or potholders, and no one forces us to write home.

At JAWS CAMP, we make better journalists, and we make journalism better.

We do have other things in common with other camps: T-shirts and jeans or shorts are perfectly fine, though if you are more comfortable in a cocktail dress and heels, go for it. There’s swimming, hiking, biking, maybe even horseback riding. You can bunk with other people to save money, Or carpool (JAWS road trips are always incredibly fun).

But you can’t do it unless you’re there. Sign up now!